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Curios and Relics 

Clothing Accessories 

Canes Owned by Lincoln 

Excerpts from newspapers and other sources 

From the files of the 
Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection 

7/, zoaf. OiS . W&i, 

Mr. Lincoln's Cane. Mrs. Lincoln has given to 
Senator Sumner a Palmetto cane, which was pre- 
sented to Mr. Lincoln some months since. The head 
ot the cane is an elaborately carved piece of ivorv 
representing an eagle shieldin* with her wines a neH 
containing several eaelets, and in the act oftlrawine 
up with her beak the l«lds of an American fla°- to 
protect the nest and heryoune from the insidious 
approach of a serpent. The idea aptly symbolizes 
the Onion s dangers, and as developed upon the head 
?l * e cane, is quite effective as well as ornamental. 
IN. Y. Com. Advertiser. . I J /, * 
//ft /(•. 

President Lincoln's valuable gold-headed cane, given to him m 1851 
by John 4. M'Clernand, and bjr Mr. Lincoln's family to the late Bev. Dr. 
Smith of Springfield, 111., has in accordance with Mr. Lmcol n s 
wishes, been given to John Bright. In. Dr. Smith's will the 
following clause was inserted: (Tl give, devise and bequeatn unto 
John Bright, Esq., member of thTBritish. House of Damons, and to MsH$ 
heirs the gold-mounted staff or cane which belonged to the deceased Pres. 
ident Lincoln of the United States, and presented to be by tne deceased's 
wisow and family as a mark of the President's respect, which staff is 
to be keot and used as an heir-loom in the family of the said John 
Bright as a token of the esteem which the late President felt for 
him bedause of his unwearied zeal and defense of the United States m 
suppressing the civil rebellion of the Southern States. \J 

Story of the Wanderings of Lin- 
coin's Cane. ^ _ . 

Written for The Sunday Republic, ^* ' ' * S <» 

On* of the most precious relics of Pres- 
ident Lincoln treasured by his son, Robert, 
Is an old cane that has a romantic story 
of queer wanderings and strange recovery. 

When Lincoln was a poor lawyer in 
Springfield, 111., he carried about with him a 
plain ebony cane with the name "A. Lin- 
coln" marked on a silver ferrule. The 
cane may have cost about $5. 

When Lincoln found himself In Washing- 
ton he still carried the old ebony, being 
loth to part with his old' friend. One day 
a delegation of admirers waited upon him 
and presented him with an elegant modern 
cane with an elaborately engraved gold 
handle. He accepted the gift more to ac- 
commodate his friends than to please him- 
self. The old cane Lincoln loaned to his 
trusty valet, who often frequented a prom- 
inent restaurant "In Washington, where 
many professional men, actors, lawyers and 
musicians assembled. Among the number 
was A. R. Phelps, the first manager of the 
Grand Central Theater. Hard pushed for 
money the valet pawned the cane with the 
proprietor, and from his hands It passed to 
those of Phelps. 

In his vocation as a theatrical man Phelps 
Btruck Troy, N. Y., some four or five years 
later, and assumed the management of the 
Grand Central Theater. Finally adversity 
overtook him, and In his distress he pawned 
the cane to a citizen of Troy for $25. He 
left Troy shortly after that, and has never 
been seen there since. 

When Robert T. Lincoln learned that the 
cane was In Troy, ho corresponded with 
Chief Markham with a view of obtaining 
possession of It. As soon as Mr. Markham 
received a clew as to its whereabouts he 
served a search warrant on the proprietor 
of a meat market, at the corner of North 

A niKlilnnd Product. 

"I've always wanted to see some of your CalU 
fornla mountains," kald an old English sea cap- 
tain yesterday; "and 

I'm going to do It this — - 

time, sure. That desire ■ 

was flret aroused ln^ me ISfPfPrfl 

visiting some relatives ^^f'' : S ^al 
near that city, and nat- BUrK PtIH 

urally fell to discussing WrjXj y ^-V ^^ P^ 1 

mountain*'" asked? fiiJ^A ' I'M 

Pointlng^to some neigh- Jpw»7»w \_ 

host, "thfey b? P bu^ hllli* "t/ Vn 

That bey ant is a moun- 
tain.' i ^Jut 1 ' 

" 'On, that's a mountain. Is it? Well, In Call* 
fornla you would have to ptle up all the hills' 
and mountains In sight here on top of tho othei 
before they would etbll It a hill. - 

"The old Scotchman 'SWrtched his head looked 

"The old Scotchman Stjjrtrtcbed his head, looked) 
Incredulous, but Rai.lT nothing. That night he 
slipped the biggest NttfcwaUr crab he could Rot 

slipped the biggest sftfcwaUr crab he could got 
Into his visitor's bed^hsd) sjon after retiring 'he 
heard a nowl in fhe'waett s Chamber. 

" 'Hoots, mon, what-ata Ve?" ho shouted, as hs 
burst Into the room. 

" "What In the dickens have you got that crabt 
In bed forT demanded the guest, as he rubbed a 
red spot on his anatomy. 

" 'That's na a crab mon, that's a Highland 
flea," declared the old Scotchman, and they heard 
no more of California's wonders during tha.« 
visit."— San Francisco Post. 

BtlH Spinning*. 


The maid of sin score years ago 
Bat by the log-fire's fiick'rlng glowf 

She was so fair and winning! 
Her hands passed deftly to and fro. 
As, to her singing, sweet and low. 

She by her wheel sat spinning. 


She skims through parks where hreezes blow. 
Her cbeeks lit up with ruddy glow. 

This' modern girl so winning! 
Regrets not times of long ago 
As, darting fast, or taunt ring slow. 

She on her wheel goes spinning. 



Lincoln's Pet Cane Sold 
at Auction for $145. 

Spreckels Mansion in Honolulu is 
Closed Till Queen Returns. 

A walking stick, which until the death 
of Abraham Lincoln was his cherished 
possession and constant companion, 
was sold at public auction recently. 

From }2o. the first bid, the price ad 
sauced to $145, and it was sold tor that 
sum to H. H. "Wibert, an ardent admirer 
of tho great President. 


The cane, which is longer than the 
ordinary ones, on account of Mr Lin- 
coln's great hight, is black with a buck- 
hcrn handle. The wood is studded with 
li knots, each having a top of silver 
upon which one letter of Lincoln's name 
is engraved, so that the whole series of 
letters from handle to ferrule spell 
"Abraham Lincoln." 

A metal band joins the handle to the 
stick, and this bears an inscription 
showing that the cane was presented 
to the President by his "Old Chum, S. 
Strong," in 1S60. 

On the handle is another plate which 
shows that the stick was given ta 
Frank B. Carpenter, a personal friend 
of Lincoln, by Mrs Lincoln. 

In 1S91 Carpenter was penniless, and 
nledged the stick to his cousin, Fannie 
Mathewson, in return for a loan of $500. 
About two year? a^o the artist died. 
He had not n deemed the pledge. 

Fannie Mathewson, through -her at- 
torneys, authorized the sale, and yester- 
•iay it wis audi mud. The price re- 
ceived is- considered ixeeedingly small, 
as $l.wi would have been asked for the 
cane in a private sale.— New York Jour- 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2014 

June 29, 1932 

Mrs. Carrie T, Farrar 
Pine Point, ^aine 

My dear Mrs. farrart 

tthile I doubt seriously whether we would be in 
the TTaricet for the cane which you possets, we have a 
great raany inquiries for Lincoln curios here and if yon 
world lllce to send & description of It and some story as 
to its origin, we wuld lie -very glad to file it for 
reference. We have one friend especially who is interested 
in canes an 1 he might like to get lh tonch with yon. 

Tery truly yours. 


Lincoln Historical Beseerch Foundation 

sits. GuuaaaA^ ■ 

Aft* 13, 1932 

Mrs. Cp.rri« f. fcarrar 
Pin© Point, m— 

*ly dear Jfrs. Farrert 

I M forwarding your Totter to Mr. Gllwer H. 
Barrett, of Bttoagp, who is interested in Lincoln curi as 
as I thought ha might lilca to ac<pire the can* 1 ? which you 

Thanking yo- 1 for the information about this 
cane, we arc 

Respectfully yours. 



Lincoln Historical Besearch Foundation 

July 13, 1932 

Hr. Oliver l« Barrett 
Care Cook, Sail A M^tti 
310 South SflcMgan Iwenne 
Chicago, Illinois 

¥y •*■§ llr. Barrett: 

Enclosed fm will please find a letter recently 
recriwad from Urt. Carrie F. Ferrar with reference to a 
Lincoln cane, "»Mcfc we QtoQjJM yen wight be interested i n. 

TCith MNltttt -vrsonal regards. I err 

lespectf fel "'y yours. 


Lincoln Historical Baaearch Foundation 

Snc. <1) 

A gold headed cane that Mr. Lincoln 
gave "to his pastor, Rev. P. D. Gurley, 
was sold in Chicago in June, 1932, for 
$200. At the same sale a chair used by 
Lincoln in the White House brought $250. 




This Is a full rate Telegram, Obi egram or 
Radiogram unless otherwise indicated by 
signal in the check or in the address. 












1536 JUN 24 PM 3 51 






Telephone Your Telegrams to To$tCtl Telegraph 

Myron T. Harshaw 
Erwin Wasey & Co. 
Chic ro, Illinois 

No original photographs of Lincoln ^Ith cane. Tradition suggests he 
carried one. Have descriptions of several he is said to have used. 

L. A. barren, Director 
Lincoln Nat'l Life Foundation 

Bulletin of the Lincoln National Life Foundation Dr. Louis A. Warren, Editor. 

Published each week by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Number 401 FORT WAYNE, INDIANA December 14, 1936 


The Christmas season recalls some of the many gifts 
which Abraham Lincoln received as president-elect and 
chief executive of the nation. Soon after his election 
these favors began to arrive and they continued to be 
received at intervals throughout his administration. He 
is said to have remarked to his wife before they left 
Springfield for Washington, that regardless of what 
came out of his new office apparently they were going 
to get some new clothes. 

Wearing apparel, however, represented but a very 
small part of the large number of gifts he received. 
Books and pictures were the most numerous expressions 
of appreciation and it seems as if he must have been on 
the mailing list for each new publication. 


One of the earliest gifts of clothing he received was 
an overcoat from Isaac Fenno, to whom he wrote the 
following expression of thanks: 

Springfield, 111., Jany. 22, 1861 

Isaac Fenno, Esq. 
Dear Sir: 

Your note of the 1st inst., together with a very sub- 
stantial and handsome overcoat which accompanied it 
by Express, were duly received by me, and would both 
have been acknowledged sooner but for the multifarious 
demands upon my time and attention. 

Permit me now to thank you sincerely for your ele- 
gant and valuable New Year's Gift, and the many kind 
expressions of personal confidence and regard contained 
in your letter. 


Lincoln's relatives did not forget him as Christmas 
time approached and one of them, living in Indiana sent 
him a pair of socks. His acknowledgment of their receipt 
is written in the typical Lincoln style. 

Executive Mansion, Washington, Dec. 4, 1861. 
My Dear Madam: 

I take great pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of 
your letter of Nov. 26; and in thanking you for the 
present by which it was accompanied. A pair of socks 
so fine, and soft, and warm, could hardly have been 
manufactured in any other way than the old Kentucky 
fashion. Your letter informs me that your maiden name 
was Crume, and that you were raised in Washington 
County, Kentucky, by which I infer that an uncle of 
mine by marriage was a relative of yours. Nearly or 
quite sixty years ago, Ralph Crume married Mary Lin- 
coln, a sister of my father, in Washing-ton County, Ken- 


Lincoln always deeply appreciated gifts from children 
and seldom failed to acknowledge these favors at the 
earliest possible moment. Two small girls, Clara and 
Julia Brown, sent him a muffler, which possibly they 
had made with their own hands. Their pictures were 
also enclosed. Lincoln wrote to them this kind letter of 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, March 2, 1864. 

Misses Clara & Julia Brown: 

The Afgan you sent is received, and gratefully ac- 
cepted. I especially like my little friends; and although 

you have never seen me, I am glad you remember me 
for the country's sake, and even more, that you remem- 
ber, and try to help the poor soldiers. 

Autograph Document 
A grand-niece of John Hancock, living in New York, 
presented Lincoln with a rare document dated in 1765, 
signed by Hancock and endorsed by an Abraham Lin- 
coln, contemporary with Hancock. The document had 
something to do with the rebuilding of Faniel Hall and 
it was suggested to the president by the donor that the 
document might prove "a happy augury of the country's 
future history — 'The cradle of Liberty', rebuilt by the 
joint efforts of John Hancock and Abraham Lincoln." 

Lincoln wrote thanking Mrs. Colyer, the donor, for 
the interesting document and "the flattering sentiment 
with which it was accompanied." 


It would be very difficult, indeed, to make a complete 
list of all the canes which Lincoln had presented to him. 
Most of them had some personal or historical signifi- 
cance. A formal presentation program accompanied the 
gift of one received just before going to Gettysburg. It 
had formerly belonged to Senator David Colbert Brod- 
erick of California. The report of Mr. Lincoln's reply to 
Senator Conness, who presented the cane, follows in full 
as it appears to be an unpublished speech of the presi- 

"The president then accepted the cane, and, with 
much emotion, replied that he never personally knew 
the Senator's friend, Mr. Broderick, but he had always 
heard him spoken of as one sincerely devoted to the 
cause of human rights. Testimony to this point of his 
character had been borne by those whom he had not 
intimately known, as also by those whom he was per- 
sonally and intimately acquainted, and, with all of them, 
the testimony had been uniform. The memento which 
was presented him by Senator Conness was of that class 
of things, the highest honor that could be conferred 
upon him. If, in the position he had been placed, he had 
dene anything that entitled him to the honor the Senator 
had assigned him, it was a proud reflection that his acts 
were of such a character as to merit the affiliation of 
the friends of a man like David C. Broderick. Whether 
remaining in this world or looking down upon the earth 
from the spirit land, to be remembered by such a man 
as David C. Broderick was a fact he would remember 
through all the years of his life. The proudest ambition 
that he could desire was to do something for the elevation 
of the condition of his fellow men. In conclusion, he re- 
turned his sincere thanks for the part the Senator bore 
in this presentation, and to the memory of his great 

Royal Gifts 

Some gifts sent to the president through their very 
nature were received by him as expressions of good will 
to the nation and these were properly deposited in the 
national museum. Lincoln acknowledged from the King 
of Siam, "a sword of costly materials and exquisite 
workmanship," and also two huge elephant tusks. The 
King likewise offered the president a herd of live ele- 
phants but these Mr. Lincoln refused because he felt 
they could not be properly cared for in this climate. It 
is likely, however, that his son Tad would have looked 
upon the gift of a herd of elephants with the same favor 
as he did rabbits, goats, ponies and other specimens of 
live stock which found their way to the White House 

Attorneys and Counselors at Law 
find lay, ohio 


March 14, 1938 

Dr. Lewis A. Warren, 
Director of "Lincoln Lore", 
Fort. Wayne, Ind. 

Dear Dr. Warren: 

A person runs onto little Lincoln items of interest in the most 
unexpected placed. I stumbled onto one recently in reading the 
book entitled "Life and Speeches of John Bright" the English 
Statesman, published by A.C. Armstrong and Son, 714 Broadway, 
New York and by Hodder and Stoughton of London, England, in 1881; 
it is found on pages 70 and 71 in Volume 2 of this work. If, 
perchance, you have not seen it, to save you the work of 
looking it up, I will copy it. It is as follows: 

"But perhaps the most Interesting reminiscence relating 
to Mr. Bright and the United States is one respecting 
which we are able to give the following particulars. 
The staff used by President Lincoln was bequeathed to 
Mr. Bright by the Rev. Dr. J. Smith of Springfield, 
Illinois, the latter having first received it from Mr. 
Lincoln's family. The President's gold-headed staff, 
or cane, bears the following inscription on the gold 
head: 'J. A. M 1 demand to the Hon. A. Lincoln, June 1857;' 
and on a gold ferule below are the words , 'Presented to 
Rev. Jas. Smith, D.D. late pastor of First Presbyterian 
Church, Springfield, Ills, by the family of the late 
President Lincoln, in memoriam of the high esteem in which 
he was held by him and them as their pastor and dear friend, 
27th April, 1868'. On another gold ferule, lower down, 
is the following: 'Bequeathed by the Rev. Dr. Smith, U.S. 
Consul, Dundee, to the Right Hon. John Bright, M. P. in 
recognition of his tried friendship to the United States'". 

"The following is an extract from the will of Dr. Smith: 
'I give, devise, and bequeath unto John Bright, Esq., mem- 
ber of the British House of Commons, and to his heirs, the 
gold-mounted staff, or cane, which belonged to the deceased 
President Lincoln of the United States, and presented to me 
by the deceased's widow and family as a mark of the President's 
respect; which staff is to be kept as an heirloom in the family 
of the said John Bright, as a token of the esteem which the late 
President felt for him because of his unwearied zeal and defence 
of the United States in suppressing the civil rebelion of the 
Southern States'". 


I am sending this in the hope that it will be a new reference 
concerning an old subject. 

filth, kind personal regards, I am 

Yours truly, 

Bulletin of the Lincoln National Life Foundation Dr. Louis A. Warren, Editor, 

Published each week by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana 

Number 538 


July 31, 1939 


A shawl or a tall silk hat would probably be noted as 
features characterizing Abraham Lincoln, and often an 
old fashioned umbrella is placed beside the tall hat as a 
symbol of the prairie lawyer. For some reason, however, 
a walking stick which Lincoln is said to have used habit- 
ually does not seem to find any place in the Lincoln legend. 

There has just come to light an interesting but rather 
obscure reminiscence which would imply that even from 
childhood Lincoln had been accustomed to carry some 
kind of a stick; in adult years this evolved into a cane. 
Possibly the old fashioned umbrella of the prairie years 
was, in Lincoln's hand, a happy transition from the prim- 
itive dogwood club to the more elaborate gold-headed cane 
of the Presidential years. 

A Washington correspondent tells the story of a 
friend's visit to Abraham Lincoln, on which occasion Lin- 
coln expressed himself on the use of walking sticks. Inas- 
much as the reminiscence was printed in the month of 
May, 1865, it bears the imprint of truth. The subject was 
introduced by the fact that the visitor to Mr. Lincoln car- 
ried a cane. The President reached for it and then ex- 
pressed himself as follows : 

"I always used a cane when I was a boy. It was a freak 
of mine. My favorite one was a knotted beech stick, and 
I carved the head myself. There's a mighty amount of 
character in sticks. Don't you think so? You have seen 
these fishing poles that fit into a cane? Well, that was 
an old idea of mine. Dogwood clubs were favourite ones 
with the boys. I 'spose they use 'em yet. Hickory is too 
heavy, unless you get it from a young sapling. Have you 
ever noticed how a stick in one's hand will change his 
appearance? Old women and witches wouldn't look so 
without sticks. Meg Merrilees understands that." 

It is difficult to learn when Lincoln began to carry a 
stick of such dignified appearance that it might be called 
a cane. In Miss Walker's interesting study at Vincennes 
of the Lincoln family's migration from Indiana to Illinois, 
her bronze Lincoln appears beside the yoke of oxen draw- 
ing the covered wagon with a goad in his hand. The ox 
goad might be called the primitive walking stick of the 
pioneer, as he often leaned upon it for support in much 
the same manner as the shepherd upon his staff, with the 
sharp point elevated in much the same fashion as the 
herdsman's crook. The cattle driver in the Kentucky 
country, even now, is seldom seen without his improvised 
goad, or stock cane. 

There are many canes in existence which are said to 
have belonged to the President. A cane made of wood 
taken from the Henry Clay home was supposedly carried 
by Lincoln during the debates. One presented to Lincoln in 
1860 was studded with fourteen knots, each knot mounted 
with a silver crown bearing a letter in Abraham Lin- 
coln's name. There was the Broderick oak cane presented 
to Lincoln with great ceremony in 1863, and bearing its 
interesting inscriptions on gold plates. The assassination 
cane made of black ebony with its nine dots representing 
the states which had withdrawn from the Union, is said 
to have been left by Lincoln in the box at Ford's Theatre 
on the night of his assassination. 

The most famous of his many walking sticks, however, 
was one presented to him by John A. McClernand in 1857. 

The McClernand stick is undoubtedly the one which he 
carried with him to Washington, and it finds a place in 
the First Inaugural picture. A contemporary account of 
Lincoln's appearance as he approached the platform on 
this eventful day is found in a press correspondent's de- 
scription of him : "He was arrayed in a full suit of regula- 
tion black including a dress coat, a brand new silk hat, 
and a ponderous gold-headed cane. After standing hesi- 
tatingly a moment his cane in one hand and his hat in 
the other he got rid of the former by thrusting it up in the 
angle of the railing " 

After Lincoln's death this same gold-headed cane was 
presented to Dr. James Smith who was for seven years the 
spiritual adviser of the Lincoln family at Springfield, 
Illinois, and who was appointed by President Lincoln as 
United States Consul at Edinburgh, Scotland. 

Harper's Bazaar for August 27, 1871 published a codi- 
cil from Dr. Smith's will which reads as follows: 

"I give, devise and bequeath unto John Bright, Esq., 
member of the British House of Commons, and to his 
heirs the gold-mounted staff or cane which belonged to 
the deceased President Lincoln of the United States, and 
presented to me by the deceased's widow and family as a 
mark of the President's respect, which staff is to be kept 
and used as an heirloom in the family of the said John 
Bright, as a token of the esteem which the late President 
felt for him because of his unwearied zeal and defense 
of the United States in suppressing the civil rebellion of 
the Southern States." 

Through the courtesy of Harlan F. Burket, an attorney 
in Findlay, Ohio, the attention of the editor of Lincoln 
Lore was called to an excerpt from "The Life and 
Speeches of John Bright" which was published in 1881. 
It confirms the fact that the famous cane reached its 
proper destination, as we see by the following notation : 

"But perhaps the most interesting reminiscence relat- 
ing to Mr. Bright and the United States is one respecting 
which we are able to give the following particulars. The 
staff used by President Lincoln was bequeathed to Mr. 
Bright by the Rev. Dr. J. Smith of Springfield, Illinois, 
the latter having first received it from Mr. Lincoln's fam- 
ily. The President's gold-headed staff, or cane, bears the 
following inscription on the gold head: 'J. A. McClernand 
to the Hon. A. Lincoln, June 1857;' and on a gold ferule 
below are the words, 'Presented to Rev. Jas. Smith, D. D. 
late pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Springfield, 
Ills, by the family of the late President Lincoln, in me- 
moriam of the high esteem in which he was held by him 
and them as their pastor and dear friend, 27th April, 
1868'. On another gold ferule, lower down, is the follow- 
ing: 'Bequeathed by the Rev. Dr. Smith, U. S. Consul, 
Dundee, to the Right Hon. John Bright, M. P. in recogni- 
tion of his tried friendship to the United States' ". 

It is interesting to know that on the mantle of the study 
in the White House at the time Lincoln was assassinated, 
there was displayed a portrait of John Bright. Certainly 
this famous cane found an appropriate home when it 
reached the hands of the distinguished English statesman 
who was ever in sympathy with the Union cause. 

Washington Bureau of 
the Chicago Record-Herald 
1413 (x Street N. W. 

July 5, 1902. 

My dear Colonel Crook: 

The Lincoln cane was duly delivered at 
my office. Permit me to thank you for it with the utmost hearti- 
ness. In my opinion it is a noble memento. Anything that serves 
to remind one of that great man through association or contact 
is a sacred souvenir. I am grateful to you for placing it in my 

Col. Win. H. Crook Sincerely yours 

The White House Walter Wellman 

(Collection of Captain F. L. Pleadwell) 

T. (•+• 

September 1, 1939 

Capt. ?. L. Pleadvell, Medical Corps 
0. S. liavy, 1522-C . 
Aleva Drive 
Honolulu, T. H. 

Dear Capt. Pleatvell: 

Thank you very much for your little note with 
reference to the Lincoln cane presented to Walter Wellaan. 

We irill see what ve can do about identifying 
this cane. We do not seem to have any information about 
it in our files. 

Very truly yours, 





- ^ ' ' — — f r * „ v_> 





^ /->il ^^^^ _ ^3 

, — /J J/ 


October 25, 1939 

Mr. Augustus King 
107 I. Pino Ave. 
Chicago, 111. 

My dear Mr. King: 

It vai kind of you indeed to recall our interest 
in Lincoln upon observing certain curios in Chicago but 
I feel ve would not be interested in acquiring the case 
as ve give very little attention to curios here and the 
picture vhich you mention we already have in our 

We are grateful nevertheless for your calling 
to our attention these interesting items. 

Very truly yours, 



fat ol^^^ / 

^JLt-*!^fA- Ci^tyO^f c^--^-*^ ^^-t^-tfi^ 
^^UU^UL^&^j CX^x ol^ ^^J*0-v_ 

tfebrfery 1, 1940 

lira. J. .V. Rhea 
409 Fifth Hml 
Bristol Tennessee 

Dear Mrs. Rhea: 

I wish to thnnk you for foxvarding us the infor-ia- 
tion about the availability of the cane which belonged to 
President Lincoln, 

Our collection here nalnly consists of printed 
Matter on the life and services of Abrahan Lincoln and thus 
we x/onld not be interested in acquiring it. 

Hoi/ever, we frequently havo inquiries ashing us 
whore audi naterlal night be available, and if you will give 
ne fill details regarding the cane I shovJ.d be very glad to 
place them on file and if ire have inquiries regarding such 
an iten I shall be very glad to refer them to yon. 

Sincerely yours, 


mu c 0 ok 



June k, 1973 

Mr. Hark E. Neely, Jr. 
Editor, Lincoln Lore 

The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company 
Fort Wayne, Indiana U6801 

Dear Mr. Neely: 

Enclosed you will find articles concerning our most recent 
accessions of objects associated with Abraham Lincoln complete 
with photographs which you may find appropriate for inclusion in 
Lincoln Lore . We are most fortunate in having such an outstanding 
Lincoln collection here in the Smithsonian Institution and I think 
the public should be made aware of it. As time permits, I shall 
try to write up some of the other Lincolniana in the national 

With best wishes, 

Sincerely yours 

Herbert R. Collins 

Associate Curator 

Division of Political History 

Lincoln cane (Accession 203979, donor: Samuel J. Prescott) 

The cane is made of orangewood and painted black but has 
since been sanded down and refinished in natural. The wood 
is studded with U4. knots, each having a top of silver upon 
which one letter of Lincoln's name is engraved, so that the 
whole name is engraved, so that the whole series of letters 
from the handle to ferrule spell "Abraham Lincoln." 

There is a slight indenture on the top of the cane before 
the bend of the handle which indicates that a medal band was 
once there. Although this has been sanded extensively it is 
still visable. Two tacks and a rough unsanded end at the very- 
end of the handle indicates a medal plate has been lost from 
that location. 

This cane fits the description of one given to President 
Lincoln on July k, 1859, when the city of Atlanta, Illinois 
asked him to speak for their celebration at Turner's Grove 
for the Nation's birth. Lincoln did agree to come but refused 
to speak. On the occasion Mr. Sylvester Strong, an old time 
friend of the President presented him with an orangewood cane 
with knots topped in silver spelling "Abraham Lincoln." 

First of all, the cane before it was sanded down and 
refinished would have had the appearance of buckthorn. Although, 
the stories of the o»mers of this cane since Lincoln are 
conflicting, it seems most unlikely that Abraham Lincoln would 
have o^med two canes so unusual and yet so similar. 

By the omission of the original plates, it seems as though 
someone might have gone to great effort to destroy the original 

documentation of the cane 

i@i*e account 'states the cane was'sold in Washington, D.C. 
in 1906 to Samuel J. Prescott for $50.00^ - Another^ account 
states it was sold at auction to H.H. Wibert for #lU5»00. The 
latter newspaper article seems to bear out the facts best as 
it states President Lincoln gave the cane to Frank B. Carpenter, 
the artist who spent six months in the White House studying 
Lincoln's likeness. Carpenter died in the early 1890' s and 
the cane was auctioned by Fannie Mathews on at that time. Miss 
Mathewson held the cane as security for a loan she had made 
to Carpenter.- In view of these facts the newspaper article 
must date prior to 1895* The fact which now needs documenting 
is the transfer of the cane from Wibert to Job W. Angus sometime 
between 1895 and 1906.. This would establish that the cane in 
the Smithsonian Institution is indeed the cane presented to 
Lincoln by his friend Sylvester Strong on his visit to Atlanta, 
Illinois on July hj 1859 • 

January 12. An impromptu presentation of handsome, richly ornamented, 
' gold-headed cane is made to Lincoln this morning in business office of 
St. Nicholas Hotel by returned Californian, an old friend and client. Chi- 
cago Tribune, Jan. 14. Lincoln is called upon by old Indiana farmer named 
Jones, for whom 30 years ago he worked as common farmhand at $1 per 
day. Ibid. In letter to Sen. Seward (N.Y.) Lincoln reveals that he is trying 
to get at least one Southerner in cabinet; also informs him that there is 
"scarcely any objection" to him as secretary of state, but that there will 
be trouble over "every other Northern cabinet appointment." CW, IV, 1 73. 
Hawkins Taylor, Republican from Keokuk, Iowa, shows Lincoln postscript 
of letter from Col. Warren supporting Sen. Cameron (Pa.) for cabinet. 
DLC — SC, Taylor to Cameron, Jan. 12, 1861. [Mrs. Lincoln arrives in New 
York City in company with Philip Dorsheimer, treasurer of state of New 
York. Stays at Astor House. Washington Star, Jan. 15.] Lincoln with- 
draws $3.30 from Springfield Marine Bank. H. E. Pratt, 1 75. 

January 13. Lincoln writes Sen. Cameron (Pa.) conciliatory letter: 
"I now think I will not definitely fix upon any appointment for Pennsylvania 
until I reach Washington." CW, IV, 174-75. James Appleton, Jr., of 
Boston, Sen.-elect Edgar Cowan (Pa.), and John P. Sanderson of Penn- 
sylvania, state senator and confidential friend of Cameron, arrive late this 
evening to visit Lincoln regarding cabinet appointment for Cameron. 
Washington Star, Jan. 15. 

January 14. Lincoln writes Gen. John E. Wool, commanding Dept. of the 
East, to thank him for his "patriotic and generous letter." CW, IV, 1 75. 
Former Cong. Richard Yates (111.) is inaugurated governor of Illinois. His 
inaugural address, "although delivered under the very eyes of the President- 
elect ... is so radical as to make it altogether improbable that it has his 
sanction." N.Y. Herald, Jan. 14. Lincoln withdraws $30 from Springfield 
Marine Bank. H. E. Pratt, 1 75. 

January I5[?]. ["When Mrs. Lincoln was on her way home from New 
York, attended by her son Robert, she found herself at Buffalo, without a 
pass over the State Line Railroad; no provisions had been made for that 
part of her trip from New York City to Springfield. After Mrs. Lincoln had 
taken her seat at Buffalo Bob entered the office of R. N. Brown, esq., the 
superintendent of the State Line Railroad, and said : 'My name is Bob Lin- 
coln ; I'm a son of Old Abe — the old woman is in the cars raising h-11 about 
her passes — I wish you would go and attend to her.' Mr. Brown allowed 
Mrs. Lincoln and Bob to ride over his railroad free of charge." Baltimore 
Sun, Feb. 22.] 

January 16. New York delegation consisting of George Opdyke, New 
York merchant, Hiram Barney, New York attorney, and Judge John T. 
Hogeboom consults with Lincoln on cabinet appointments for Sen. Cameron 
(Pa.) and Sen.-elect Chase (Ohio). They tell Lincoln "a thousand truths 
which he ought to know." DLC — EBW, Ray to Washburne, Jan. 16, 1861. 

1861 5 

( e<t * 


To the Editor of The Courier-Journal. 
Here is a fragment of tradition that 
gives added weight to the belief that 
Abraham Lincoln was born near Hod- 
genville, then in Hardin, now In La- 
rue County, Kentucky, as so interest- 
ingly told by Otis M. Mather in The 
Courier -Journal. My great-uncle, 
Dr. George Rodman, of Hodgensville 
at the first inauguration of President 
Lincoln, presented to the latter a gold- 
headed walking cane made from a 
tree that he claimed grew on the 
' spot where Mr. Lincoln was born, 
January 12, 1809. If this cane is in 
existence it would contribute mute 
testimony to the accuracy of the tra- 
dition I am here quoting from a clear 
memory of the story told myself by 
Mrs. William Milburn in Louisville, 
in 1876, only eleven years after Lin- 
I coin's tragic death. Descendants of 
Drs. George and David Rodman, one 
of whom, J. G. Rodman of Tonieville. 
Coroner of Larue County, I name to 
you now, should know of this cane 
incident, which was impressed Indel- 
ibly upon my memory by this aged 
aunt, herself a sister-in-Jaw of Dr. 
Rodman, brother of my\ maternal 
grandmother, Nancy Rodman Jack- 
! son of Lebanon, Ky. There existed 
strong reasons for the handsome gift 
\ to President Lincoln, from the fact 
that the Rodmans and Lincoln's par- 
ents were neighbors in Washington 
, County, and together migrated to 
1 Hardin County, where they continued 
their former neighborly associations.. 
It is possible the Washington dis- 
patches in The Courier-Journal of 
I860, or possibly 1864, may have de- 
; scribed the incident referred to. At 
r, all events the cane was presented to 
s Mr. Lincoln, and it is improbable he 
would have accepted it as a memorial 
from his birthplace had it not truly 
commemorated that event, 

Honorary life member Kentucky 
e and Florida Press Associations. 
How is this for service? The Cou- 
rier-Journal reaches me at 5:35 p.m. 
same day as published — although I 
am 125 miles west of Indianapolis and 
150 south of Chicago. C. E. Woods 
Sidney, 111. 

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